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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Light Imaging Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data collection provides an interesting dilemma for geospatial professionals who know the value of the information but find the huge file sizes (100’s megabits to gigabits) difficult to store and manage. Most users have typically used either the first and or last returns, these derivative data sets of LiDAR, which, for example, can yield tree canopy profiles or elevation model data, respectively. However, using all (multiple returns) of the LiDAR, the entire “point cloud,” has proven hard, again, because of file sizes. With the decrease cost of data acquisition and market growth, LizardTech saw an opportunity to use it’s expertise in data compression technology to exploit this opportunity for LiDAR data management.

LizarTech’s new LiDAR Compressor (See image at right; click for larger image) product can compress LAS and ASCII files to MrSID 4 format with approximately a 4:1 lossless result. It’s a simple compression utility and includes a simple “viewer” of point clouds.  Once compressed, the product allows the user to selectively decode an entire image by a bounding cube with geographic bounds. The product will sell for $2995 for a single user license. The product is considered so revolutionary that the company has applied for a patent for the technology behind the product.

by Joe Francica on 07/15 at 08:02 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

ENVI EXAs a remote sensing geologist early in my career for the USGS, the image processing systems were fantastic…for their time…which was a totally command line driven system (Yes…the old IDIMS system)...and we learned probably 100 different commands for classification schemes, doing training areas, and eventually spatial analysis.

ITT VIS has had the ENVI image process system for some time but they’ve launched a new product called ENVI EX (see image at right; click for larger image) which is integrated with ArcGIS. What’s unique about it? The "Geolink" function within the product links ArcGIS to ENVI EX through a simple drag and drop method of exchanging data. Users can also pan and zoom around an area in side-by-side windows of ArcGIS or ENVI EX simultaneously. An image portal view for seeing and modifying image analysis results can be opened before processing the entire image with a specific classification algorithm. And that algorithm is selected with a pull down menu that if the user changes their mind can be altered on the fly. I never had it so good twenty-five years ago. There are also step-by step workflows that guide GIS professionals through image processing tasks including change detection and feature extraction. Of particular benefits to remote sensing specialists is that a resulting land cover classification scheme, for example, can be exported directly to an ArcGIS geodatabase or any other interchange format such as a geotiff or other supported format.

The program has the look and feel of a tightly integrated solution and kudos to ITT VIS for making this tool available to those who perhaps should be using image processing tools but have shied away because of the learning curve. There should be some quick studies with this product.

ENVI 4.7 will be released with ENVI EX and it will be included in the update. Next year, the geoprocessing tools will be released in native formats with ArcGIS and ENVI Enterprise Services for image injest and publishing tools will be coming in the fall 2010.

by Joe Francica on 07/15 at 07:35 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I got a real “two-fer” when I spent some time with Deke Young, the Director of Business Systems at GeoEye. I got the inside scoop on the back end of its new GeoFuse applications and I learned more about the cloud and its use.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/15 at 04:38 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

In his discussion on Monday at the plenary Jack Dangermond made a comment during the discussion of ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Server that the APIs (JavaScript, Silverlight and Flex APIs) were now “free for non-commercial use.” That confused me and many others based on the tweets. So, I went to check out what that comment meant.

The “news” really relates to a few different things. One is the closing of ArcWeb Services. Some of the people using it had “no where” to go after it shut down. Why? The APIs for ArcGIS Server were only licensed to be used if you owned a copy of ArcGIS Server. Many users of ArcWeb Services don’t have a copy. Thus, they couldn’t take advantage of the free and premium services from ArcGIS Online.

This change means that now non-commercial use of the APIs is ok if you don’t own ArcGIS Server (whether you are a non-profit or commercial entity). You can use the APIs to hit the free ArcGIS Online data, per its licensing (most is free for non-commercial use, but there’s a fee for commercial use) but all users must pay for premium data. You can also use the APIs to hit any ArcGIS published data to which you have access. (Fees/options are discussed in this FAQ and chart.)

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/15 at 04:16 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

What if you could drive ArcGIS not with keyboard or mouse, but with a pen that interacts directly with your display? Would that make your work go faster?

Wacom not only thinks such a solution will enhance productivity, it’s has some numbers to confirm it will. Productivity in one study rose 2-3 times.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/15 at 03:49 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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